Clueless police find bodies of victims with notes around their necks, identifying them and pointing to their alleged crimes.
Police in Bangladesh are investigating the deaths of three alleged rapists after their bullet-ridden bodies were found with notes around their necks pointing to their alleged crimes, drawing mixed social media response.
The first body turned up on January 18 when the main suspect in a rape case was found dead in Savar, outside capital Dhaka, with a note saying "I am the main culprit behind the rape."
The victim was accused of participating in the gang-rape of a 14-year-old factory garment worker who had died on January 8.
Another suspect in a rape case was found dead on January 26. This body also bore a note saying "I am Sajal. I am the rapist of [****]. This is my punishment."
Then on February 1, another body appeared.
This time, the note read "I am Rakib. I am the rapist of a madrasa girl … of Bhandaria. This is the consequence of a rapist. Be aware rapists."
The last two victims were allegedly behind the rape of a madrasa student who was seized when she was on her way to her grandfather's house, on January 14.
All notes were signed by 'Hercules' and all bodies were bullet-ridden.
Vigilante or glorified killer?
The cases have attracted quite a bit of attention on social media.
Most users are hailing the killer's actions, calling them heroic.
Hey #Hercules from Bangladesh, whoever you are, you are a Hero. May the legend be a myth, but you certainely are saving lives and giving us hope. Thank you. Shall everyone accused of rape recieve death. #Bangladesh— Kasturi🍀🌈 (@Kasturi_Subhash) February 3, 2019
Somebody pls invite him to India we need some one like him https://t.co/FVJXStDWEz— Sharad Gautam (@sharadgautam81) February 4, 2019
Others point out that there must be a due legal process.
Vigilante goes after accused rapists and murders them— Abdullah Sameer (@abdullahadam) February 5, 2019
What if some of these accused men were actually falsely accused?
There has to be due process.https://t.co/BGLoXfzKYS
Gaps in justice system
Failure of justice system in Bangladesh could be fuelling support for the killings.
"That ordinary people would welcome and condone what appears to be an instance of 'vigilante justice' is hardly surprising — especially in a country where the legal system has not been able to evoke public confidence," wrote Nazmul Ahasan in The Daily Star.
Extrajudicial killings are not new in Bangladesh – particularly in rural areas – and they are not technically illegal either, tending to fall under the ambit of murder instead.
In 2018, a women's rights organisation tallied 598 reported rapes in the first half of the year.
The report said 2,063 women and children were on the receiving end of various types of violence, ranging from rape to eve-teasing.
In January this year, at least 298 rape incidents were reported – 22 of which were gang rape.